Even if you are cautious and like to play it safe, sports-related injuries are bound to happen from time to time. Physical activity is a necessity and sports can enrich our lives both physically and mentally, encouraging hard work, teamwork, and determination, among many other positive traits. However, from time to time, something goes wrong and results in pain or discomfort. Whether it is an instantaneous injury such as a pulled muscle or a sprained ankle, or a chronic injury like shin splints, depending on how serious it is, you may or may not require the attention of an orthopedic doctor.

So what kinds of injuries might require you to make a trip to the nearest hospital? Myers Sports Medicine reports some of the most common sports injuries that may need an orthopedic doctor include, sprains, strains, knee injuries, shin splints, fractures, and dislocations. The last two you should not try to treat at home. They are considered emergencies in most cases. The trick is learning to accurately diagnose pain or abnormal sensations and determining early on if a trip to a hospital is necessary. If you are unsure, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Steps to Take Before Seeking an Orthopedic Doctor

It cannot be stressed enough that at any point, whether it be upon infliction of the injury or long after, if the pain is extreme or unbearable you should seek the assistance of a medical professional right away. The case with many sports-related injuries, however, is that they either are chronic and form slowly over time from an excess of activity, or it simply isn’t immediately apparent that hospitalization will be necessary. If that is the case, there are a few things you can try at home to see if the pain dissipates.

  • For Strains and Sprains, and Knee Injuries: Many issues that arise from sports, both chronically and due to rough physicality, can be treated with the classic R. I. C. E. method. For those unfamiliar, this stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate. Ice is most effective when applied three times per day, for about thirty minutes at a time. Keeping the injured body part elevated helps to drain the blood from the area to reduce swelling. Healthy Children provide further insight on using heat and ice to heal the orthopedic injury.
  • For Shin Splints: Shin splints are a chronic injury that is a little trickier and will take longer to heal than a strain or a sprain. The first thing to focus on is low-impact workouts such as bike machines or swimming. Since the injury is a disconnection of the calf muscle, it is important to emphasize stretching this muscle regularly on the road to recovery. Above all, though, it is important to make sure that you have the appropriate shoes for running or whichever activity caused the injury. Active.com suggests that a doctor of orthopedics can advise on footwear, treatment, and prevention of shin splints.

When You Know You Have to See an Orthopedic Doctor

There are many reasons you may want to see an orthopedic physician, including the desire to prevent an injury, as they can advise on many preventative stretches and equipment that may help you to avoid future visits. If you are currently experiencing pain, you should consider orthopedic specialists if the issue is with your ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, or back. If you have tried to manage the pain using the above methods and the pain persisted for several days, became unbearable, or prevents you from completing basic daily tasks, it is time to get yourself to a hospital.

Of course, the best thing you can do is avoid sports-related injuries. But that doesn’t always work out. When something goes wrong, it is always best to seek out a professional at a practice such as Orthopedic Associates.